The Socialist 9 March 2006
Wanted: A party for the millions...not the millionaires!
A headlong dash to sleaze
THE TESSA Jowell/ David Mills affair rumbles on. Each revelation reveals the greedy lifestyles of those closest to power in Britain.
After Jowell has booted Mills out of the family home in a separation of convenience she says Mills did not reveal the source of the wealth sloshing around in their bank account.
But Tessa was quite happy to raise £300,000 against their house, and even happier to accept his explanation that an 'investment opportunity' had opened up. It must have been a pretty watertight investment opportunity to splash out that kind of money from the joint piggy bank.
In 1982 Mills set up a commercial law firm that attracted Silvio Berlusconi, now Italy's right-wing billionaire prime minister, as a client. People are now asked to believe that it took her 24 years to realise her spouse was running a very dodgy operation.
Mills's lawyer says that he was never bribed by Berlusconi. "The money was paid... for proper reasons and in good faith." Someone had better tell working people who have to sell their houses to pay for care in advancing years, what the difference is between a bribe and a gift for services rendered.
This web of intrigue links Mills, Jowell, Berlusconi and his holiday companion, Blair. The loot bounces round the globe like a ball on a gaming machine. The capitalist tabloids look at the affair in microscopic detail to sell papers and to satisfy those who enjoy seeing the great and good fall on their well-fed faces.
The serious press, also alarmed that these goings-on lift the lid on capitalism's corrupt underbelly, call for "stricter procedures". Peter Preston in The Observer says we need an Independent Adviser to advise ministers on what has to be declared, or 'do what you like as long as you declare it.'
The Observer leader called on Tony Blair to 'set the tone for a culture in which spivvery and making a fast buck are seen as loathsome.' This is like asking Beelzebub to condemn sin.
The fact is that New Labour's enthusiastic embrace of the principles of capitalism leads to the headlong dash to personal enrichment by those with power. The solution lies, not in tinkering with the corrupt practices of unbridled capitalism but by establishing a socialist society accountable to the mass of working people. A new mass party of the working class will lead this fight.
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